Encyclopedia Astronautica
STS-1



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Detailed drawing of STS-1 Columbia
Credit: NASA
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Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
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STS 1 Shuttle Columbia firing main engines
Credit: NASA
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Launch view of the Columbia for the STS-1 mission, April 12, 1981
Credit: NASA
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Launch view of the Columbia for the STS-1 mission, April 12, 1981
Credit: NASA
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Launch view of the Columbia for the STS-1 mission, April 12, 1981
Credit: NASA
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Tracking views from the IGOR Tracking camera of the STS-1 SRB separation
Credit: NASA
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Tracking views from the IGOR Tracking camera of the STS-1 SRB separation
Credit: NASA
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Tracking views from the IGOR Tracking camera of the STS-1 SRB separation
Credit: NASA
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Selected frames of the SRB separation during STS-1 launch path
Credit: NASA
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Selected frames of the SRB separation during STS-1 launch path
Credit: NASA
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Selected frames of the SRB separation during STS-1 launch path
Credit: NASA
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Selected frames of the SRB separation during STS-1 launch path
Credit: NASA
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In-flight activities of Young and Crippen in the cockpit and middeck STS-1
Credit: NASA
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In-flight activities of Young and Crippen in the cockpit and middeck STS-1
Credit: NASA
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In-flight activities of Young and Crippen in the cockpit and middeck STS-1
Credit: NASA
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Yemen
Credit: NASA
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Space Shuttle orbiter Columbia on approach for landing Edwards Air Force Base
Credit: NASA
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Aerial ground views of the Columbia sitting on the Lakebed Runway
Credit: NASA
Crew: Crippen, Young. First rocketplane flight to orbit. First flight of space shuttle. The only time a new spacecraft was launched manned on its first flight. Many thought it would be a disaster.

First flight of Space Transportation System (aka Space Shuttle).. Payloads: Development Flight Instrumentation and Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package.

Orbits of Earth: 36. Distance traveled: 1,729,347 km. Orbiter Liftoff Mass: 99,453 kg. Orbiter Mass at Landing: 88,662 kg. Payload to Orbit: 4,909 kg. Payload Returned: 4,909 kg. Landed at: Runway 23 dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, . Landing Speed: 339 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 1,844 m. Landing Rollout: 2,741 m.

NASA Official Mission Narrative

Mission Name: STS-1 (1)
COLUMBIA (1)
Pad 39-A (13)
1st Shuttle mission
1st Flight OV-102

Crew:
John W. Young (5), Commander
Robert L. Crippen (1), Pilot Backup

Crew:
Joseph H. Engle (0), Commander
Richard H. Truly (0), Pilot

Milestones:
03/24/79 - Arrival from Dryden
03/25/79 - Move to OPF-1 (610 days)
11/24/80 - Move to VAB-3 (35 days)
12/29/80 - Move to PAD-39A (105 days)
02/20/81 - Flight Readiness Firing (FRF)
04/12/81 - Launch
04/14/81 - Landing
04/28/81 - Return to KSC (14 days)

Payload:
DFI,ACIP
Mission Objectives:
Demonstrate safe launch into orbit and safe return of the orbiter and crew. Verify the combined performance of the entire shuttle vehicle - orbiter, solid rocket boosters and external tank.
Payloads included the Developmental Flight Instrumentation (DFI) and the Aerodynamic Coefficient Identifications Package (ACIP) pallet containing equipment for recording temperatures, pressures and acceleration levels at various points on the vehicle.

Launch:
April 12, 1981, 7:00:03 a.m, EST. Launch April 10 postponed due to timing skew in orbiter's general purpose computer system. Backup flight software failed to synchronize with primary avionics software system. Countdown proceeded on schedule April 12. First 24 Shuttle liftoffs - STS-1 through 61-C - were from Pad 39-A. Launch Weight: 219,258 lbs.
Orbit:
Altitude: 166nm
Inclination: 40.3 degrees
Orbits: 37
Duration: 2 Days, 6 hours, 20 min, 53 seconds
Distance: 1,074,567 miles

Hardware:
SRB: BI-001
SRM: 001SW(SPM)
ET : 2/SWT-1
MLP : 1
SSME-1: SN-2007
SSME-2: SN-2006
SSME-3: SN-2005

Landing:
April 14, 1981, 10:20:57 a.m. PST, Runway 23, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Rollout distance: 8,993 feet. Rollout time: 60 seconds. Orbiter returned to KSC April 28, 1981. Landing Weight: 194,184 lbs.

Mission Highlights:
Primary mission objectives of the maiden flight were to check out the overall Shuttle system, accomplish a safe ascent into orbit and to return to Earth for a safe landing. All of these objectives were met successfully and the Shuttle's worthiness as a space vehicle was verified.
Major systems tested successfully on first flight of Space Transportation System. Orbiter sustained tile damage on launch and from overpressure wave created by solid rocket boosters. Subsequent modifications to water sound suppression system eliminated problem. Sixteen tiles lost and 148 damaged.
The only payload carried on the mission was a Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI) package which contained sensors and measuring devices to record orbiter performance and the stresses that occurred during launch, ascent, orbital flight, descent and landing.
Post-flight inspection of the Columbia revealed that an overpressure wave which occurred when the SRB ignited resulted in the loss of 16 heat shield tiles and damage to 148 others. In all other respects, however, Columbia came through the flight with flying colors, and it was to fly the next four Shuttle missions.
Columbia was returned to Kennedy Space Center from California on April 28 atop its 747 carrier aircraft.

AKA: Columbia.
First Launch: 1981.04.12.
Last Launch: 1981.04.14.
Duration: 2.26 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Young Young, John Watts (1930-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Gemini 3, Gemini 10, Apollo 10, Apollo 16, STS-1, STS-9. Only astronaut to fly Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle. Ninth person to walk on the moon. Space speed record (11,107 m/s). More...
  • Crippen Crippen, Robert Laurel 'Bob' (1937-) American pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-1, STS-7, STS-41-C, STS-41-G. Member of first crew to fly a winged spacecraft to orbit and back. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Columbia American manned spaceplane. 28 launches, 1981.04.12 (STS-1) to 2003.01.16 (STS-107). Columbia, the first orbiter in the Shuttle fleet, was named after the sloop that accomplished the first American circumnavigation of the globe. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NASA Houston American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Houston, Houston, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...

STS-1 Chronology


1981 April 12 - . 12:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-1.
  • STS-1 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Crippen; Young. Payload: Columbia F01 / DFI. Mass: 4,909 kg (10,822 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Crippen; Young. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-1. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 2.26 days. Decay Date: 1981-04-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 12399 . COSPAR: 1981-034A. Apogee: 251 km (155 mi). Perigee: 240 km (140 mi). Inclination: 40.3000 deg. Period: 89.40 min. Summary: First flight of Space Transportation System (aka Space Shuttle).. Payloads: Development Flight Instrumentation and Aerodynamic Coefficient Identification Package..

1981 April 14 - .
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